COLUMNS & FEATURES
Click On Link
AVAILABLE NOW!!!! At Coastal181.com
Semi-Monthly Racing Commentary with
LEW BOYD DECEMBER 10 COASTAL CLAUS
NEW BOOK FROM
By Dave Dykes CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR FULL SIZE
we again take a look at several New England short track history-makers,
many of-which are members of the prestigious New England Auto Racing Hall
of Fame. Special thanks go out to our friends, longtime car owner Jarb
Beaudoin and Tony Mordino Jr. for making it possible for us to feature
some of the terrific shots from Jarb’s personal racing scrapbook. Lastly,
congratulations to our pal Billy Greco (himself a Hall of Famer), on the
success of his NEAR Hall of Fame fundraising event held last-weekend in
West Haven, CT. - a great time was had by all! As-always, Email reaches me
A Special Thanks From Billy Greco
To All That Attended His NEAR Hall Of Fame Fundraiser On Saturday
Evening, December 8th
New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Billy Greco would like to
express his sincere appreciation to those that attended his recent
NEAR Hall of Fame Movie Party Fundraiser in West Haven.
“I just want to sincerely thank everyone that attended our HOF
Fundraiser last Saturday evening,” Billy stated Sunday. “It’s great to
see how-much support we got, and it goes to prove that the Hall of
Fame means a great deal to people. It turned out really-well, and
people had great-time. I want each & every person that attended, and
also everyone involved in making the event a reality, to know that I
personally appreciated it very-much.”
Yup, More New England Short Track Heroes….
really like this coupe-era image of New England Auto Racing Hall of
Fame member, the late Tony Mordino Sr. from the former
Riverside Park Speedway in Massachusetts where he was a winner during
the track’s UNITED heyday (certainly not an easy feat!). The car is
the famous “Jarbs 500” wrenched by celebrated New England car owner
Jarb Beaudoin. Thanks to the Mordino family I was introduced to
Jarb at Billy Greco’s recent NEAR Fundraising event, which was a
pleasure. One can only imagine the amount of wins that both Mordino
and Beaudoin recorded during their long, successful careers. (Beaudoin
Collection, Courtesy Tony Mordino Jr.).
And here’s another New England Auto Racing Hall of
Fame member, the late Dick Dixon celebrating
a victory in another of Jarb Beaudoin’s many
creations. Looking at the list of drivers that
wheeled the mighty #500’s over the years is indeed,
impressive. That’s Jarb on the left next to Dixon.
Unfortunately, we’re not-sure of the identity of the
flagger. At this point Jarb’s cars were
Hudson-powered, once a powerful form of motivation
in New England short track racing. Sadly, Dixon lost
his life in a crash at the Thompson Speedway in 1967
while still in the prime of his career. (Beaudoin
Collection, Courtesy Tony Mordino Jr.)
Here’s one-more from the Beaudoin archives. That’s
none-other than our pal, Hall of Famer Billy
“Gramps” Greco sharing victory lane with Jarb at
one of the great UNITED modified shows that used to
be held every year at the expansive track on the
grounds of the “Big E” in Springfield,
Massachusetts. To win one of these events was
indeed, an accomplishment; all of the regions top
teams competed in these races... (Beaudoin
Collection, Courtesy Tony Mordino Jr.).
It seems that no-matter how much
time and effort one puts into researching the history of
short track racing in our region, you’re bound to come up
with some dead ends. I’d read about this driver in several
vintage issues of Speedway News from my files and knew that
he’d won at a variety of eastern tracks, but just couldn’t
come-up with much information on his career. From
our friend Bill Ladabouche’s excellent Catamount Stadium
www.catamountstadium.com comes the following; “Schenectady,
New York's Link Pettit, whose team hailed from
Great Barrington, Massachusetts, looked more like a high
school librarian than a stock car driver. Opinions of him
range from Lebanon Valley immortal to vastly over-rated. I
did meet Link at a breakfast gathering in Watervliet in July
of 2007, and I found him to be a fine man - so I am going to
go with the Valley legend label.” One thing we know
for-sure is that Link scored a pair of Riverside Park
feature victories on 09/10/1955 and 04/05/1958. We believe
this shot to be from his ’55 triumph. (Shany Photo).
I just really
treasure this Riverside Park victory lane shot. It’s
perhaps because it features Billy Greco, who was
truly one of the big heroes of my youth and a huge
reason why I became so fixated on the sport at an early
age. A New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer, he was an
absolute master of the short oval, honing his skills at
tight little joints like the late West Haven Speedway
and the old 1/5-miler at Riverside Park. A darling of
the old Harvey Tattersall-led UNITED circuit (once the
most influential sanctioning group in New England); in
later-years he also became a winner at the
ultra-competitive Danbury Fair Racarena. The personable
Greco is as popular today as he ever-was, and can really
enlighten you on the history of the sport. Win, lose, or
draw, Billy was always there for the fans until the last
autograph was signed – that makes a lasting impression
on a race-crazed kid. (Shany Photo).
Captured here at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway,
Sal “Dee” Delucia remains one of the most
fondly-remembered racers of his era. His relatively
brief but spectacular career stalled by serious
racing-related injuries, had longevity been in the
cards, he would have undoubtedly accomplished even more.
Dee won-over a legion of fans undoubtedly fueled by his
no-nonsense drives to the front during what many
railbirds consider the most-competitive period in New
England modified racing history. Winner of the 1965
Waterford Speedbowl Modified title, this guy was truly
one tough competitor!
This shot has an interesting story. At Billy Greco’s
recent NEAR fundraiser, I‘d bought-along a few albums of
vintage shots for attendees to enjoy. Hall of Famer and
friend Dennis Zimmerman found them
pretty-interesting, and was savoring the memories when
he came-upon this one. The conversation went something
like this; “Dave, do you know who this-is?” I
replied “Sorry Dennis, I’ve not been able to identify
the poor guy in that crash.” He then says, “Guess
what – it’s me!” Here’s the full-story as told by
Denny himself; “That
happened at Riverside Park on a Saturday night 1957 or
58, not-sure which. I ran over Eddie Flemke Sr.’s wheel,
took a hard tumble, and spent the night and the next day
in the hospital. Guess what? I wound up in a room with
Ed Patnode. He was in for a hernia operation, so
at-least we had a lot to talk-about. I had to thank the
late Johnny Georgidas for picking up the pieces and
towing it home for me (while I was in the crash house).
No easy-job, because in those days we flat-towed to the
race track.” Eddie felt so bad, at this point he took me
under his wing and became my mentor. While running down
south as an "Eastern Bandit" he won track champion at
Southside Speedway, Old Dominian Spedway in Virginia and
Marlboro Speedway in Maryland beside being the Virginia
State Modified Championship.
Of-course, from these humble beginnings Dennis went-on
to compete at the Indianapolis 500, notching Rookie of
the Year honors in 1971. In-between he was a charter
member of the famed “Eastern Bandits” led by fellow Hall
of Famer, the late Eddie Flemke Sr. Coming out of
retirement a few seasons-ago, he currently competes in
the USAC Dirt Midget Association. Denny took his place
in the HOF in 2001. (Shany Photo).
Captured here following a feature victory on the old
1/5-miler at Riverside Park, Jerry Humiston was
one of the premier-players within Harvey Tattersall’s
United Racing Club. Three-times a track champion (1954,
59, and 61), he raced at The Park’ during what many
consider the tracks most-competitive era. Humiston’s
prominent place in the history of the much-missed oval
is rightly-deserved. Another New England Auto Racing
Hall of Famer, he took his place among our regions best
earlier this year. (Shany Photo).
Another race night at Connecticut’s “New
London-Waterford” Speedbowl, and another feature victory
for the Congdon team and their driver, the late Dick
Beauregard (third from left). Dick passed-away last
year at age-85, but not before leaving a huge impression
on fans during the shoreline oval’s formative years.
In a career that spanned only a decade, this racer
managed to accomplish more than most drivers spending
twice-as-much time behind the wheel. Starting in 1952,
he went-on to score a combined-total of sixty-two
victories in Modified & Non-Ford competition along with
two track titles before hanging-up his helmet and
relocating to the West Coast. Dick was named as one of
the Speedbowl’s “All-Time 50-Favorite Drivers” when the
track celebrated its half-century mark in 1991. (Shany
was one of the real movers & shakers on Harvey
Tattersall’s United circuit. Starting his stellar
career at Connecticut’s West Haven Speedway, he
later became a top-shoe at the much-missed Riverside
Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass as seen here. First
scoring in 1969, “Mr. Centinaro” racked-up a total
of 5-feature wins at The Park’, his final visit to
victory lane coming on the evening of June 2, 1973.
New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer the late
Buddy Krebs (second from right), scored an
astounding 43 feature victories at Massachusetts’
former Riverside Park Speedway, placing him third on
the all-time winners list behind fellow Hall of
Famers Reggie Ruggiero with 93, and Billy Greco with
57. Like all winning drivers, he had great people
turning the wrenches. Captured here sharing victory
lane at The Park’ with his driver is
(third from left), one of the best mechanical minds
in the history of the sport. From here, Hall of
Famer Jorgensen went to Indy; it was quite a ride.
For more on Jim’s amazing career, pick-up a copy of
“Swamp Yankee: The Racing Life of Jim Jorgensen,” by
our friend Walt Scadden. Just a great book, it’s
available at Lew Boyd’swww.coastal181.com
Tell em’ Dave Dykes sent you!
Denny Zimmermen also ran in the Plainville Stadium
Reunion go Kart race and still can get around a race
track even with a go Kart!
ted grey said:
HI DAVE, I BELIEVE THE COUPE IN THE BACKROUND OF THE
DICK BEAUREGARD PICTURE IS BILL CONGDON'S "76". THANKS
FOR ALL THAT YOU DO FOR NEW ENGLAND RACING HISTORY.
Don Macrino said:
Dave, great job again. Reading this column, is like
taking a cigarette break when
Iused to smoke! By the way,I have one of Danny
Zimmerman's early Goodyear Firesuits that was given to
me by Johnny Kay.
I'd love to get it back to him.
tony mordino said:
Great seeing you guys the other night at Billy's Party.
Thanks for your efforts on this page - again.
Eric Marenghi said:
Charlie Centinaro also drove the Hudson version of
Jarb's 500. Used to run at Riverside in the Jalopy
(Sportsman) division Tuesday night, a show that featured
a lot of the great West Haven guys.
Denny Zimmerman said:
Don Macrino, Thanks I would love to have it back and I
would then donate it to the new museum they are building
in New Hampshire. I have already promised some other
stuff to them. Call me 860-986-3817 or email denzimm@aol,com.
Mike Ray said:
Another great week!Thank you David and Tom.
Dave Dykes said:
Guys, thanks for all of the nice comments; it really
makes doing "RTT" every-week a pleasure. And Don, I
usually see Denny every month at the NEAR meetings; let
me know if you need me to deliver that firesuit to him.
Al Murray said:
Link Pettit ran well at Empire Raceway in the RU21. Also
saw him in the same car on the dirt at Fonda. He ran at
Pinebowl and probaly at Burden Lake and Stateline.
Steven Humphrey said:
Those were the days. It's all money now, not as much
Denny Z. said:
Dave, The starter in the picture with Dixon is Al
Parrent (not sure of the spelling of his last name) long
time Riverside Park starter. In that picture he looks
like he choked on a bug or something. He is the same guy
in the picture with Buddy.